Presidency in Gabon says president Bongo is seriously ill

Gabon Ali-Bongo

Gabonese presidency says President Ali Bongo, hospitalised in Saudi Arabia on October 24, is seriously ill but on the mend.

Presidential spokesman Ike Ngouoni said the 59-year-old leader’s condition “has greatly improved” and he is in the process “of recovering most of his functions

Lack of official news — along with memories of the secrecy-shrouded death of Bongo’s father Omar Bongo in office in 2009 after decades at the helm — has set the rumour mill churning about his health.

A foreign source close to Bongo and his French-born wife Sylvia on Wednesday said that Bongo had a stroke.

Bongo served as foreign and defence minister during his father’s rule, and after his death was elected head of state in August 2009.

He was narrowly re-elected in 2016 following a presidential poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.